Defending and transcending local identity through environmental discourse

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Discourse analysis is employed to explore the discursive terrain of an environmental dispute concerning proposals for an opencast coalmine in West Yorkshire, England. Three dominant discourses are entangled in a framing contest over the nature of ‘nature’ as the consequential construction will have profound implications for the planning process and the people involved. The case study is particularly attentive to the notion of local identity, and how local actors employ strategic representations of nature to defend and transcend their sense of place. This is demonstrated by local opposition whereby the essentialism of nature and scale has been effectively challenged throughout the dispute. The study also elucidates the complex relationship between local and trans-local mobilisation, and how a form of grassroots realpolitik has enabled two protest groups to unite and advance an amalgamated discourse of opposition in order to achieve the common objective of keeping the coal underground.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-831
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2013


  • environmental discourse
  • planning
  • scale politics
  • place identity
  • Yorkshire
  • climate change


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